Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are very different to their bigger brothers. Van security features that come as standard are more advanced than on HGVs. However, career criminals are finding more ways around van security systems and thefts of LCVs and their contents are on the rise again after reaching a 48-year low in 2014. Vehicles with keyless ignitions or that do not require mechanical ignition keys are often most at risk.
For example, the majority of modern vehicles are supplied with an On-Board Diagnostics port. It is designed to allow vehicle technicians access to the status of the various vehicle subsystems. The same port can also be used by garages and locksmiths to produce replacement keys. Unfortunately, this same method is being exploited by criminals to unlawfully take vehicles by simply programming a replacement key, bypassing the immobiliser and then gaining access to the vehicle.
The picking of locking cylinders on vehicles was another threat seemingly resigned to the annals of history. Firstly, locking mechanisms and cylinders were made more secure, meaning that coat hangers are no longer effective tools when breaking into vehicles. Furthermore, technological advances such as the aforementioned legislation for immobilisers and remote central locking meant that key barrels have been phased out, with the exception of the override cylinder on the driver’s door. Targeting the most popular models of van, thieves have devised techniques that can overcome the driver’s door cylinders, often overriding central locking in the process.
Meanwhile, LCV ownership has increased by 29% in the last 10 years, with a shift towards home deliveries and a surge in demand for next-day and even same-day delivery in the home shopping market. These trends are all contributing to an anticipated 88% growth in this vehicle type by 2035.
Statistics now show that
- Ford Transit is the most frequently stolen UK vehicle
- Mercedes Sprinter is next on the list
- 38% of LCVs are never recovered
Ways to improve LCV and van security
Always lock your vehicle
It might seem obvious but ALWAYS lock and secure your vehicle.
Protect the load area
The biggest draw for a thief is your load area (more specifically, its contents). Use deadlocks and armoured locks to provide a low-cost physical barrier to forced attacks on your van.
Educate and train your drivers. For example, if the driver leaves the vehicle just for a few moments to deliver something or de-ice windows they need to lock the vehicle doors. Thieves need only a few moments.
Key theft is common so ensure they are stored securely.
Think about whether you need glazed rear doors as they allow visibility of what is inside. If possible, always opt for a solid interior bulkhead that restricts access to the load area in the event that entry was made to the cab area.
Advertising your goods
Consider whether you should be branding your vehicle. If the potential risk outweighs the reward, consider keeping the van as plain as possible.
Park securely and defensively
If drivers take vehicles home, make sure they park in a safe and secure location, avoiding quiet and isolated areas. If possible, block access to the load area doors by parking against walls or other vehicles. Avoid dimly lit areas and use CCTV to monitor vehicles if available.
No valuables stored overnight
Wherever possible, remove valuables overnight. If not possible, use high quality locks for load doors and lockable toolboxes inside for valuable equipment.
Spare wheels, batteries and cats
Protect exposed or easily accessible equipment that could attract thieves.
For further information on improving van security and to speak to a van insurance expert, please contact one of our local teams today.